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Let's understand Jihad

Reader comment on item: Jihad and the Professors

Submitted by K Ahmed (United States), Nov 2, 2002 at 21:09

An interesting article by Dr. Pipes, but I disagree with him on several points.

The comments by "A Muslim" are absolutely correct. They are many many hadiths (sayings of the prophet) that talk about Jihad, as an inner struggle. In relating to Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, and other Authentic Hadith collectors ,

"A man asked the Prophet Muhammad: "'Should I join the jihad?' He asked, 'Do you have parents?' the Prophet asked. The man said, 'Yes!' The Prophet said, 'Then do Jihad by serving them!'" or another occasion,

"Yet another man asked the Messenger of Allah (S): "'What kind of jihad is the best?' He replied, 'A word of truth in front of an oppressive ruler!'"

There are many hadiths like the one's above. Jihad has literally means "to strive, struggle" and Dr. Pipes' attempt to present it as "holy war" has no grammatical Arabic or historical basis. Dr Pipes is basing it on the typical Wahhabi militant interpretations, which they themselves hold very little footing in the Hadith and Quran.

Moreover, I disagree with Dr. Pipes' reporting of battles at the time of the Prophet. He claims that only 1 of 78 battles was defensive, being the battle of the ditch. This is not correct. All of the Battles the Prophet faced were in defense of Muslim community and their livelihoods. When the Quraysh attacked, the pagan arabs tribes attack, and the Byzantine Army attacked, it was always defensive actions by Muslims and the Prophet. The Prophet forbid initiatiating war, and this was confirmed by the Quranic verses says that God does not love the war-makers & transgressors...

Jihad is very much misunderstood by Muslims as well. Muslims are the prime reasons why people ... assert that Jihad means Holy War, and the whole medieval "Dar-Al-Islam" (Land of Islam) v.s. Dar-Al-Harb (land of disbelief) concept.

This concept originated among the Muslims during the Crusades, when Europe raised armies to attack Muslim territory. This concept was never present before that. This was the time also that some Muslims began calling Christians as "infidels", when Christians and Jews are to be called People of the Book.

The historical changes at the time should be considered in such an analysis, and that many of these medieval concepts found their way into "Islamic Law" books because of present situations of that time. That was a mistake on the part of those past Muslim scholars. Extremist Muslims use "jihad" loosely to justify their terrorism and aggression against the West and other Muslims. ..

Jihad, in its original form, at the time of the Prophet, has a variety of meanings, where the best and most deserving Jihad , is to strive for justice, against poverty, inner ego etc. and the lowest Jihad is when defensive war becomes compulsory if an enemy attacks Muslims.

Therefore, the so called "apologists" that Dr. Pipes labels, are in fact highly learned and well-informed scholars of Islam, both Muslim and Non-Muslim. ..

Yours Sincerely,
K. Ahmed
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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